Spider by Patrick Mcgrath | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Spider

Spider

4.2 5
by Patrick McGrath
     
 

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Spider is gaunt, threadbare, unnerved by everything from his landlady to the smell of gas. He tells us his story in a storm of beautiful language that slowly reveals itself as a fiendishly layered construction of truth and illusion. With echoes of Beckett, Poe, and Paul Bowles, Spider is a tale of horror and madness, storytelling and skepticism, a novel

Overview

Spider is gaunt, threadbare, unnerved by everything from his landlady to the smell of gas. He tells us his story in a storm of beautiful language that slowly reveals itself as a fiendishly layered construction of truth and illusion. With echoes of Beckett, Poe, and Paul Bowles, Spider is a tale of horror and madness, storytelling and skepticism, a novel whose dizzying style lays bare the deepest layers of subconscious terror.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A small classic of horror." — Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Brilliant. . . . The sensuous world that McGrath creates is intense in its beauty. . . mesmerizing." —Katherine Dunn, The New York Times Book Review

"Disturbing, wholly absorbing. . . a combination murder mystery/dark-night-of-the-soul. . . touchingly, menacingly brilliant." —Chicago Tribune

"A gorgeous, painful howl of madness, shockingly perfect." —Jonathan Hawkes

"Has the compelling quality of felt reality [that] feels like the inevitable truth. Spider is a thriller of sorts, as well as a psychological case study. . . a gem." —Washington Post Book World

"McGrath especially excels at evoking the latent horro in commonplace sights. . . . [He] has created a manifestly untrustworthy storyteller without sacrificing suspense or sympathy for his characters." —Cleveland Plain Dealer

"[Spider] is as creepy as a fleshy incarnation of an Edward Gorey drawing. . . . McGrath's a shrewd performer. You're fascinated; you're enthralled. . . it's a pleasure to be mesmerized." —Newsday

"Truly outstanding. . . evocative. . . Accomplished in the sinister and macabre, McGrath transcends his already solid reputation with a powerfully realized character who simply won't let you go." —Christian Science Monitor

"The strength of Spider is in the character of the deeply human, if mad, protagonist who emerges as a formidable sufferer among the Gothic trappings. . . . McGrath is a sly literate who. . . has talent—in spades." —Philadelphia Inquirer

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this "closely observed study of madness, memory and storytelling'' the delusional Dennis Clegg, aka Spider, returns to his London neighborhood after 20 years in a mental hospital and insists that his father, not he, murdered his mother. "An admixture of Poe and the comic vulnerabilities of Beckett, this tale lingers long and disturbingly in the mind,'' said PW.
Library Journal
Spider Cleg moves into a London boarding house near the squalid East End neighborhood where he lived 20 years earlier. Here memories of his mother's murder and other childhood traumas arouse his latent schizophrenia. Spider tells his own story in the form of a secret journal, and hallucination sometimes displaces reliable narrative. Since events of the past and present unfold simultaneously, the book skillfully maintains two levels of suspense. We wonder what happened to Spider as a child and what this past suffering will lead him to do. As in many stories by Poe, McGrath's portrayal of a diseased mind evokes disquiet but also voyeuristic fascination.
-- Albert E. Wilhelm, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville
Katherine Dunn
Brilliant...the sensuous world that McGrath creates is intense in its beauty...mesmerizing.
-- The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679736301
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/1991
Series:
Vintage Contemporaries Series
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
540,499
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

John Hawkes
A gorgeous, painful hell of madness...shockingly perfect.

Meet the Author

Patrick McGrath was born in London and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital, where for many years his father was medical superintendent. He is the author of Blood and Water and Other Tales, The Grotesque, Spider, Dr. Haggard's Disease, and Martha Peake, and he was the co-editor, with Bradford Morrow, of The New York Gothic. He lives in New York City and London, and is married to actress Maria Aitken.

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